Paid search advertising can be confusing for those of us who are not digital marketers. In fact, even for those of us who are experienced with paid search, keeping up with Google AdWords and other ad platforms is tough. For many small businesses, the question often becomes, is this something I can manage on my own, or do I need professional help? My answer to this question is that if you have no experience with paid search and do not have a digital marketer in your practice who can commit to managing this, it makes sense to seek professional help. I’ve outlined 4 paid search tips here that are important for dental practice pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Even if you are hiring help with this, numbers 1 and 2 below are still important for you.
1. Define your objectives for paid search ads
Is your objective to get more traffic to your website? In my experience, this is the most common objective. It sounds easy enough, but remember that you are paying every time somebody clicks on your ad. Wouldn’t you rather get high quality traffic that has sincere interest in the services your practice offers? In other words, wouldn’t you rather get traffic that is likely to set up an appointment or another desired action? I want to capture more local web searches for sleep apnea solutions as this is a new area of emphasis for my practice. This is the starting place for a great objective for paid search ads.
2. Commit to maintaining your campaigns
There is no set and forget strategy that works well for paid search ads. Of course Google will suggest keywords for you and help you automate bids for those keywords. While tempting, you will probably end up paying for keywords that don’t matter at all for your business. Yes, “dentist salary” might get a high search volume each month, but would somebody who entered this search really be interested in services you provide? If you start with a term like “sleep apnea dentist” you can use a free tool like Ubersuggest to give you related searches. Copy and paste these into the Google keyword planner in AdWords and you can get suggested bid data along with number of searches, competition for that term, etc.
Bonus tactic: After watching your campaign for at least a month, move budget away from keywords that are not performing well and put it into your keywords that are performing well. Also, do more keyword research and try adding a few new targeted keywords to your campaign in place of those removed.
3. Geotarget your ads
This is a critical piece for dental practice PPC ads. Geotargeting simply means targeting your ads to specific geographic locations. If you are an orthodontist in Chicago, you probably don’t want your ads served in Denver, and this could happen if you don’t geotarget. Also, you can select multiple regions to target, which works well for practices that have multiple locations.
4. Advanced tip: Use ads to bolster your rankings where you don’t perform well organically
This is a more advanced tactic because you have to be in touch with your organic search rankings to do this well. One use for this would be if you are adding a new service to your practice. For example, say you’ve become an official provider of Under Armour custom mouthwear. You want your website to rank well for searches in your area for custom mouthguards, but you know it will take time for you to be able to rank organically. Set up a campaign in AdWords for your custom mouthwear keywords and make sure you have a high quality landing page on your website that talks about your custom mouthwear offering and has a good call to action (i.e., a “Request Consultation” button). Also, it’s important that your ad copy closely aligns with the content on your landing page. Now you have a strategy to promote this new service that otherwise would be missed in Google searches.
With the right management and strategy, PPC ads can be a great addition to your digital marketing efforts.
I look forward to hearing your experiences with paid search in the comments.